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Friendly Atheist

For Friendly Atheist readers and friendly atheists in general!

Website: http://www.friendlyatheist.com
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Latest Activity: Nov 16

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dyeypsun's daughter dying; need contacts ASAP

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Facebook and Expressing Thanks for a Loved Ones Passing

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This Promotional Video for the Christian Movie Do You Believe? Raises Multiple Red Flags

This is a guest post by Andrew Spitznas, M.D.. Andrew is a board-certified psychiatrist and member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association. He has contributed to the Tinsel blog in the past and is currently a regular contributor to 1 More Film Blog, both on Patheos. During the past decade or so, he’s progressively [Read More...]

New York Fire Department is Now Selling “Happy Birthday Jesus” T-Shirts

Earlier this week, we saw New York's Utica Fire Department Station 4 promoting Christianity with a sign outside the firehouse reading "Happy Birthday Jesus."
Besides the sign just looking and sounding childish, you could make the argument that it's an illegal promotion of a single faith. That's what the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a letter.
The sign at Fire Station 4 explicitly invokes the name Jesus, an exclusively Christian god, and makes a direct statement in support of that deity... This is precisely the sort of religious endorsement prohibited by the Establishment Clause.
The department could, in theory, put up displays of other groups to remain neutral, but they were better off just removing the sign or handing it off to a church.So what did the department choose to do?

A Day After the Nebraska State Capitol Gets a Nativity Scene, an Atheist Sign Becomes Its Neighbor… Temporarily

Late last night, I heard that the Nebraska State Capitol building was home to a Nativity scene:
The small display, a cedar manger about 6 feet across and 4 feet high, was made possible by a Catholic-associated attorneys association that is seeking to place Nativity scenes in state capitols and other public places across the country."We want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas," said Omaha attorney Christine Delgado, who heads the Omaha branch of the Thomas More Society....Nebraska State Capitol Administrator Bob Ripley said Thursday that he has not fielded any requests for competing displays, but he added that some people have asked if other religions could erect displays."Believe me, if we allow a Christian religion to come in, we’d allow any other religion to come in," Ripley said. "Short of something in poor taste or illegal."
Great! Because atheists know how to play this game by now. And wouldn't you know it, just hours later, Scott Braley, a member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, had put up an atheist sign:

“Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” Baptist City Council Member Reminds Jews at Menorah-Lighting Ceremony

The city of Springfield (Massachusetts) held it's annual menorah-lighting ceremony to mark the first day of Hanukkah this past Tuesday. Among the 150 attendees was Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams.
While Williams is a Baptist, he decided to offer his own reflections on the Jewish holiday:
Jesus is the reason for the season.
Now, you might think this was bizarrely out of place at a celebration for the Jewish Festival of Lights. And you'd be right.

Louisiana Governor’s Prayer Rally Will Bring Together Despicable Christian Leaders to Accomplish Nothing

The first problem with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's upcoming prayer rally a month from now is that he's hosting a prayer rally.
In his invitation, he made it very clear that he wanted to use his position to advance Christianity:
Our nation is faced with fatherless homes, an epidemic of drugs and crime in our inner cities, a saturation of pornography, abortion, racism -- Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America's only hope. We need Spiritual Transformation.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State made clear that Jindal had completely crossed a line:

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Comment by Marc Draco on February 21, 2012 at 6:37am
I think you may be oversimplifying that a bit, Natalie. We have the records of the winners, not the losers. I don't know much of modern Judaism, but in the ancient world,if the Bile is to be trusted, they were a nasty bunch; and this is by their own account.
Comment by Natalie A Sera on February 20, 2012 at 8:01pm

Oh, another example: people condemn the "Abrahamic" faiths because of the damage that Christians and Muslims have done to the other peoples of the world. Well, Judaism is an Abrahamic faith, but Jews were decidedly NOT involved in the persecutions, murders, inquisitions or forced conversion, except as victiims. An example is that, in the entire history of slavery in the US, there exactly 3, count 'em THREE Jewish slaveholders. There were a significant number of Jews in the country at the time, but the majority didn't go in for slavery. The word "Abrahamic religion" paints with too broad a brush.

Comment by Natalie A Sera on February 20, 2012 at 7:56pm

I need to talk about something that is bothering me, and I finally figured out that this might be the best place, because I've been reading Hemant's blog for quite a while, and he is truly the most "Positive Atheist" I've seen.

I've been appalled by the extreme hostility I've seen expressed, mostly toward Christians, but also toward Muslims and Jews, based on a limited, rigid, hide-bound reading of their scriptures. The authors of this nastiness don't distinguish between Islamists and Muslims, Christianists and Christians, nor Judaists and Jews. They view religious scriptures as if these ancient documents which were written in their own cultural context, and in the metaphors and language of their own time, are the literal codex of how modern practitioners of these faiths think and behave. I thought only Fundies did that!

I am going to concentrate on the antisemitism I've witnessed, because I'm most knowledgeable about Judaism, having been born into that ethnic group and having been fairly well educated in its history as well as modern Reform Jewish beliefs.

There have been a number of offensive things pushed HARD by several members of AN. One is that the early Jews were genocidal (and by implication, that they still are). They ignore the fact that there were LOTS of tribes in that land at that time, and they were ALL duking it out, and when history was written by the winners, it tended to be exaggerated. Jews were no more genocidal than anyone else in the area at the time, and there are different reasons for why those tribes are no longer with us, the primary one being Christian and Muslim forced conversion. And Jews are not genocidal at this time, either. Yes, there IS a war going on in the middle east, but it is 2-sided, which these authors conveniently ignore. For example, one of them made an analogy to the immigrants who came to the US and took Native American land. But the difference is that it is well proven archaeologically, linguistically and genetically that the Jews originated in that land, and it was not THEIR fault that they were driven out or killed by the Romans, and those who were left were ALSO subject to the pressure of Islamic forced conversion. Even so, there was always a small Jewish presence in the land.

Another offensive argument is that Judaism is merely a religion, and to be scorned along with the rest of them. Well, I and many other born Jews do not believe in the god of the Jewish writings, but that does not make us any less Jews. Our community regards us as Jews, and we regard ourselves as Jews. Hemant was born into the Jain community of India -- I'm sure he still has connections with it, if only to enjoy the food and music and dancing, while still not believing in their religious ideas. But the authors of the extremist posts do not want to grant to Jews the same right that they grant to other ethnicities. It's OK to go to a Japanese Obon dance while not believing in Amaterasu Omikami; it's OK to celebrate Las Posadas while not believing in Jesus, but it's NOT OK to celebrate the New Year of the Trees (Tu b'Shvat) because it's a Jewish, and therefore "religious" holiday?

The antisemitism that I've seen expressed (those are only the 2 examples that come to mind at the moment), makes me not want to be here -- I had hoped that the AN would be a community that I could feel like a part of, but I just don't see it that way. Please tell me I'm wrong!

Comment by Marc Draco on February 20, 2012 at 6:56pm
Yeah, thought the same myself.
Comment by Susan Stanko on February 20, 2012 at 4:45pm

He probably got banned for spamming various groups.

Comment by qıƃ ɟ ǝıɔɐɹʇ on February 20, 2012 at 4:43pm

I got an e-mail notifying me of a post by Chris Volkay on this page but I'm not able to see his post here and am unable to go the website he advertised in the post (which was replicated in the e-mail). I also cannot find him among our members. What gives?

Comment by Steph S. on February 12, 2012 at 10:31pm

I'll check out your website Chris. Thanks for the link.

Comment by Lary9 on September 29, 2011 at 10:23am
What does the word "respect" mean to you? That's where differences in approach may arise. Also, sometimes "making a point" involves silence and the highest possible civility. Respectfulness itself is often a stronger 'point' than anything else. It often speaks more loudly about its owner's positions than any dialogue possibly could.
We're dealing with deeper things here than just logic alone. Just look at the respectful civil disobedience of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Comment by AtheistTech on September 28, 2011 at 11:23pm
I have a question: If you are respectful all the time, how do you make a point with someone you are respecting?
Comment by Tony Ryan on September 20, 2011 at 5:00am

Thanks Steph.

I'm just trying to promote critical thought!

 

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